While Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool faithful will regret his potential absence, the prolific forward should be happy to perhaps make history
Strange as it sounds, many will view this year’s Olympics as a distraction.
The mere mention of this should spark excitement among observers eagerly awaiting the Quadrennial Games. This year’s sporting event should have taken place last year but has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and it is a relief that the multisport event begins in July.
Football has always played an important role in the competition, having been in place for all but two years, 1896 and 1932. Africa claimed two victories in the men’s football tournament, with Nigeria and Cameroon triumphing respectively in Atlanta and Sydney.
However, the continent has not won a gold medal since a talented group of Samuel Eto’o, Patrick M’Boma, Geremi and Lauren – who formed the golden generation of the Indomitable Lions – returned from 2 -0 against Spain to win on penalties. .
This drought prompted Egypt to include Mohamed Salah in their squad as one of two over-aged players in Tokyo, but Liverpool’s reluctance and, for lack of a better word, passive aggression have been a factor. worry.
From the Reds’ point of view, you fully understand why Jurgen Klopp will be against his star player at the Games.
After having had a nightmarish 2020/21 campaign marred by several key player injuries, the German’s biggest summer desire may have been adequate rest for key players, especially after an intimidating season.
With many Liverpool players already participating in the European Championship and the ongoing Copa America, it is inappropriate to include the Olympics in pre-season preparations.
Considering that the Merseyside giants will also be starved of the Egyptian, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita mid-season due to the Africa Cup of Nations, the club’s unexpressed irritation may be included.
Given next season’s desire to snatch the title from Manchester City, Klopp and his team will see the Olympics and Afcon 2021 as drawbacks.
After expressing his displeasure at the potential involvement of the North African in January of last year, even before the pandemic causes unprecedented disruption, it will be surprising that the position of the passionate manager has changed.
Either way, some may think Salah is not doing enough to secure his participation for Egypt in Tokyo.
Ahmed Megahed, acting boss of the Egyptian Football Association, believes the Liverpool star wants to play in the Games, but in reality the striker’s position has by and large been assumed.
“We have sent a message to Liverpool management to announce our willingness to call Salah in Tokyo, they responded by saying that they would discuss the situation with the player,” Megahed told Egyptian TV station. MBC MASR Last week. “I can say Salah wants to play in the Olympics, he wants to help Egypt, and I hope Liverpool will say yes.”
Ardent supporters will be keen to see the two-time African Footballer of the Year featured, although that may never happen. Mikel John Obi did all he could to represent Nigeria in Rio in 2016, much to the chagrin of then head coach Antonio Conte.
The incident cost Mikel his career at Stamford Bridge, but the midfielder has no regrets and is happy to have fulfilled “a dream” five years ago.
“I had been called up by my national team to play and it was a dream,” said Mikel. Athleticism in March. “It’s a dream for anyone to go to the Olympics.
“Yes, as players we want to win the Champions League and the World Cup, but the Olympics are a huge tournament.
“[Antonio Conte] who had just walked through the door for five minutes told me I had to choose. I spoke to the club and told them I wanted to go.
Mikel’s selflessness before and during the competition will be forever remembered and, ironically, produced Nigeria’s only medal at the Games. Even though it was bronze, it was well worth its weight in gold.
While Salah’s relative silence shouldn’t lead to questioning his patriotism, he unwittingly opened the door to what many would see as Liverpool’s disrespect for the North African nation.
Egypt’s Under-23 coach Shawky Gharib remains uncertain about the involvement of the country’s greatest player a month before his first game against Spain on July 22. It’s frustrating far from ideal.
“We have not received a definitive response from Liverpool regarding Salah’s participation in the Olympics,” Gharib told El Mehwar TV in mid-June. Kingfut. “The EFA also did not inform us of the rejection of our request.
“When a new development takes place, we will be officially notified directly. “
Frankly, the player’s silence was a bit of a letdown and led to an unclear situation with a month to go.
Whether or not he chooses to feature remains to be seen, but it is certain that an Egyptian side with the Liverpool star certainly has a better chance of ending Africa’s 20-year gold medal drought at the Games.